[Take] up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
—Ephesians 6:16

As we continue to consider the causes of worry, we need to recognize that a very possible source of worry and anxiety in life is satanic attack.

Ephesians 6 describes the spiritual armor we have been provided with to fight against Satan’s schemes. Paul describes one of the most important pieces of armor in Ephesians 6:16. “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” The Roman shield was a very important piece of armor. It was made of a large piece of wood and covered in leather that had been soaked in water. And the reason for this is whenever the Roman soldiers would engage in battle, the opposing enemy would take arrows dipped in pitch, set on fire, and they would shoot them at the Roman soldier. And when those flaming arrows would approach the soldiers, they would simply hold up the shield that had been soaked in water and the flaming missile would be extinguished.

That is the word picture that Paul is painting for us. Satan is our adversary, and in his arsenal he has a number of fiery arrows he likes to shoot in our direction. But I think his favorite flaming arrow is worry. Worry has a way of paralyzing us with inactivity. It stops us dead in our tracks. And I think Satan enjoys that. Have you ever been out enjoying a great day or busy at work or even sitting in church when, all of a sudden, this alien thought comes into your mind: “What if?” And suddenly you are paralyzed with fear. You don’t feel like reading the Bible and you don’t feel like praying. You don’t feel like doing what you’re supposed to do, all because you are seized by anxiety. Now, sometimes the anxiety we feel may be legitimate because of unconfessed sin or a wrong value system, but many times it is coming from the evil one to keep us from moving forward in God’s plan for our lives.

In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul reminds us that this kind of fear doesn’t come from God. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” Another reason I believe anxiety is one of Satan’s favorite tools is because of the source of most of our fear. When I look back on the things I have worried about in the last 25 years, I just laugh at how ridiculous they were to even think about. At the time, they seemed like such distinct possibilities, but now I realize they were so out there, I’m not even sure why I gave them a second thought. Many times, the things we worry about are things that have no possibility of coming true at all. They are based on a lie. John 8:44 says that Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.” He would love to get us to worry about things that have no possibility or little possibility of coming true.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Winning over Worry” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.